Seasonal Sonnet

another Italian sonnet


A Seasonal Sonnet


“It came to pass…” eternal Scriptures read.

Once mist-air-dust, then mud with breath combined

Becomes a form that now can feel and bleed

To dust a trail that choices leave behind.

The frozen branch that’s leaf-forsaken, still,

Though dormant through obstinate seasons, waits

With life protected, hidden in the Root,

And beauty sleeping, quiet ‘neath the chill

In hope, will bud again on springtime dates

To be rewarded with a harvest fruit,

That is the Seed where life is introduced

With love and song and laughter to be loosed.

A fruitfulness in winter is absurd,

So faithfulness near death is then preferred.


Father’s Worship

Father’s Worship


We won’t rush rudely into Your Presence

To get what we need and then leave-

We have now come to You as we are.

So please, bathe us ’til fit to receive.


Though our past flashes failures that whip,

Or successes that hold us at bay.

Can not deal with tomorrow.

Such grace we can’t borrow.

We seize Your great plan for today.


Turn our hearts into sweet harmony,

As our wills You align into one;

Our desires are open to You.

We have come here to follow the Son.


Whether working the fields ripe for harvest

Or lone in the closet of pray’r,

As our Christ is exalted,

And we are anointed,

We’ll go where You go – anywhere.



Waiting, hungry with anticipation

For whispers of Your loving Word.

Drawing close to hear all that You’re saying

Because of our thirst for You, Lord.



Whether snuggl’d close, safe in Your lap,

Giggling, bouncing so high on Your knee,

All our cares are erased

By Your tender embrace;

We’re together, alone, feeling free.


You’re the focus of our full attention.

We watch for the look in Your eyes,

As we hush for the beat of Your heart,

We are carried by You through the skies.


We can climb back up into Your lap

Once again just to bounce on Your knee

To be loved, yes, restored,

Heal’d, protected, and more,

Happy, salting the earth, being free.


‘Fore we leave from this place of Your Goodness,

To walk among people again,

Change our lives prepp’d to carry Your Presence;

Your passion to dwell among man.

Kingdom Definition in Baptist Faith and Message

The Kingdom of God was the central theme of Jesus’ teaching while on earth. After His resurrection and ascension, He personally spent 40 days on earth training His disciples. The focus of His teaching was the Kingdom. Acts 1:3

As I grow in Christ, my knowledge of the Kingdom has grown, but this statement from the Baptist Faith and Message shows the commonality among Baptists and a starting encapsulization of my personal convictions.

Thank you,

Jack McCarty

IX. The Kingdom

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.

Genesis 1:1Isaiah 9:6-7Jeremiah 23:5-6Matthew 3:2;4:8-10,2312:25-2813:1-5225:31-4626:29Mark 1:14-159:1Luke 4:438:19:212:31-3217:20-2123:42;John 3:318:36Acts 1:6-717:22-31Romans 5:178:191 Corinthians 15:24-28Colossians 1:13Hebrews 11:10,16;12:281 Peter 2:4-104:13Revelation 1:6,95:1011:15;21-22.

Barriers to Freedom


spiritwar real


Barriers to Freedom

Deception vs. Truth (study 1 John 1: 5– 2: 2)

Are you aware that you have been believing any lies concerning life, yourself, others, etc.? _________

Are you aware of any of the following self-deceptions?

___Denial of reality

___Fantasy escape

___Attempts to identify self as someone else

___Emotional passivity

___Attempt to retreat to earlier stage of life

___Venting feelings on people weaker than those who hurt you


Are you given to defending yourself by any of the following?

___Covering up your weaknesses by overdoing your strengths ___Blaming others for your own problems

___Rationalization to justify yourself


Bitterness vs. Forgiveness (study Ephesians 4: 31– 32)

Ask God to bring to mind every relationship in which you have feelings of resentment or bitterness (including God), and list them. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________


Ask God to reveal to you every person who needs to forgive you, and list them. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Rebellion vs. Submission (study Romans 13: 1– 5)

Examine yourself with regard to any rebelliousness in relation to each of the following.

Notice that each passage promises a blessing for a submissive response.

  1. Civil government (1 Timothy 2: 1– 3; 1 Peter 2: 13– 17)
  2. Parents (Ephesians 6: 1– 3)
  3. Husband (1 Peter 3: 1– 6)
  4. Employer (Ephesians 6: 5– 8; 1 Peter 2: 18– 21)
  5. Church leaders (Hebrews 13: 17) Record any thoughts that come to you in this regard. ________________________________________ ________________________________________

Pride vs. Humility (study James 4: 6– 10)

Examine yourself to see if you are consciously or unconsciously seeking your will more than God’s. Record any thoughts that come to you in this regard. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bondage vs. Freedom (study Galatians 5: 1)

Examine yourself in the light of the following passages:

Romans 1: 24– 31

1 Corinthians 6: 9– 11

Galatians 5: 19– 21

Revelation 21: 8; 22: 15

Record any thoughts that come to your mind in this regard. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Taken from Two Hours to Freedom by Charles H. Kraft Chosen Books, a Division of Baker Publishing Group Grand Rapids, Michigan (Pages 157, 158).

Jesus Commands… Part 2, 52 Commands


Christ and the Catch of Fish


Jesus Commands Us to Make Disciples

Part 2: 52 Commands

In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus tells us to make disciples… teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” shows us 49 of Christ’s commands.

I would add #’s 50, 51, and 52.

#50 In John 13:34, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

If your name is written in heaven, and you follow Jesus daily, you may be a disciple.

Disciples are additionally commanded to #51 heal the sick and #52 preach that the Kingdom of God is within reach in Luke 10:9.

In v. 17, the disciples were rejoicing that demons were subject to them. Jesus gave them “authority… over all the power of the enemy.” The only requirement of these individuals appears to be “disciples” with “your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus had chosen 12 ”apostles” about a year earlier Mark 6:7, Luke 6:13, 9:10.


My point is this: We have a lot to do to observe all things that Christ has commanded us. Let’s do the stuff and lose the fluff!




Jesus Commands Us to Make Disciples. Part 1


Describing a local church’s outreach program, I once heard it defined this way, “We have a sign out front that tells when our meetings are. They will come in if they want to.”


Meaning, in my opinion,

  1. We are keeping the Great Commission.
  2. We built a church.
  3. We pay the church bills.
  4. We hired a preacher to do all the meetings and represent our church.
  5. If the preacher is good enough, our attendance and membership will grow and everyone will be happy.
  6. If we don’t like the way our hired preacher is helping the church grow, we’ll fire him and get another one.
  7. Good luck, Pastor!!
  8. This is what we want:Church


  9. My Question:  Is this what Jesus wants?


You may comment, if you’d like.

God’s Best Promise


God is With Us: His Best Promise

Jim Elliff

When Moses found the Hebrew people acting immorally at the foot of Mt. Sinai on the way to the Promised Land, he wasn’t the only one who was angry. God was ready to wipe out the entire lot of them and start again. One of Moses’ most significant acts was to intercede for the foolish tribes of Israel so that they could continue to make the journey.

But then God let Moses in on another great loss—He would no longer go with them. That cloud by day and fire by night through which God manifested Himself would no longer be around. Oh, He would send an angel, but His manifest presence would be unavailable.

Once again Moses unashamedly begged, and God graciously relented. Yet Moses made sure he said this to God, to summarize his feelings:

“If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:15-16).

The presence of God—There is nothing else as important.

Moses already knew that God was everywhere, or omnipresent. But he was asking for the commitment of God to His people, His promise that He would oversee their travels and troubles—a continual presence guiding, instructing, caring.

God did go with them, but sadly, judgment was still in the picture for rebellious Israel.

Fast forward about 2000 years. The disciple Matthew is writing his now famous rendition of Jesus’ life and ministry. He isn’t writing a letter, answering questions or squaring off on issues like the later Paul the apostle would do. Rather, he is writing literature. Historical literature, for sure, but writing with an agenda. He selects those aspects of Jesus’ life that show the authority or kingship of Jesus especially. But the superb gospel of Jesus that he wrote has some amazing bookend statements about this Jesus. We call them an “inclusio.”

First, at the birth of Christ Matthew reminds us that this baby is to be called Emmanuel. This is a name, like so many names of that day, which had special meaning. It meant, “God with us.” This means that Christ’s coming was a visitation of God Himself in the person of His Son. When you see the Son, you see the Father, for they are the same in essence, though taking on distinct roles for the sake of redemption.

When Matthew ends his famous letter, He describes Christ, now resurrected and soon to be ascended. The Savior is speaking to His disciples in what we have come to call, “The Great Commission.” The promise He makes is profound. “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Not just His presence for judgment, or even the gift of God in human form to the world—rather, this promise is about the presence of God in Christ only for believers. It is a promise that will carry His disciples through suffering and hardship for the gospel, and death itself.

“I am with you” was enough. “I am with you” answered all their needs. It took the disciples, and will take us, to the end.

But what’s beyond that? Interestingly, there is more after the “inclusio” of Matthew. Paul tells us an even better promise yet to be fulfilled by Christ.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

One day, for Christians only, we will rise to meet the Lord. I won’t go into details about what follows, for there are several views. However, one thing is sure. When the Lord comes we will meet Him and from that point on, “we shall always be with the Lord.”

In the new earth (Revelation 21) for a period that will not end, the Lord will be with us without the filter and disruption of sin or the limitations of human understanding. The most exciting thing about the future is that we will enjoy His presence in a changed body for eternity. “God is with us” takes on more meaning then.

Copyright © 2010 Jim Elliff. Permission granted for reproduction in exact form. All other uses require written permission. Find more free articles at, a ministry of Christian Communicators Worldwide:


Others May, You Can Not

Early in my relationship with Jesus, I surrendered to this calling. I was never the same after I first read this tract.

I want to say that His “peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management” is a wonderful experience!!! -JMc



If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25)

If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians.

In many ways, He seems to let other good people do things which He will not let you do. Others who seem to be very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others can brag about themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.

God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done; this to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.

God will take you at your word. If you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot.

Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with.

However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven, the high calling of God.


By G.D. Watson

G.D.Watson (1845-1924) was a Wesleyan Methodist minister and evangelist based in Los Angeles. His evangelistic campaigns took him to England, the West Indies, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Korea. He also wrote several books.

Launch Out Into the Deep and Let Down Your Nets For A Catch Part 4

Luke 5: 4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”


One Command from the Creator gave Courage to the Craftsmen.


Colossians 1:16 because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things have been created through Him and for Him.


Jesus, the Living Word, had created the fish Simon sought. The Voice that gave existence was giving a command that would bring significance to Simon and those of us who would listen.


Jesus, as usual, was not making a suggestion. The Maker and Master gave a command that could correctly be translated from the original language “Move your boat from where you are to where I want you to be, right now, without delay!” The options were simple as usual, to obey or rebel.


stain glass All Saints St Andrews
stain glass All Saints St Andrews


Simon tried to argue from his vast fishing experience “we never did it this way before.” Simon was obviously the expert on this shore. Simon had been successful enough to have at least 2 boats and leader enough to staff them. He was loud and proud. Stud of the Hood. The Boss.

Simon probably knew the difference between talkers and doers. I believe Simon would rather show a boatload of fish over fancy talk about legendary catches. Simon had been introduced to Jesus by his brother, Andrew. Jesus knew Simon’s Dad’s name and called him “Peter.” This Jesus deserved an honest shot at some real respect, but Simon was still fishing for fish.

Simon had been listening as Jesus spoke and knew this man was different. So he said, “Master,… at your word…” Simon made it clear that he didn’t claim any credit or blame on the results.

Jesus, as usual, backed up His Word with demonstration. Like Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 2:4, following Jesus example.


Big change was in the works. Jesus rocks boats and clears tainted temples. Be sure you’re on the right side of the argument.


To be continued….

Launch Out Into the Deep and Let Down Your Nets For A Catch Part 3

Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch Part 3

Luke 5: 4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

crashing surf

Is Jesus welcome where you work? Not bums, but busy about their responsibilities, Jesus was looking for workers. Laziness is not a quality God desires in His harvesters. They weren’t passive either.

Simon’s simple perspective had him “washing the nets”. Simon’s team had not caught fish, but decided to be respectable about failing. There is a known rhythm in working and resting. Giving and receiving, praying and preaching.

Maybe it was “net repairing and washing” time of day. My pro fishing guide son can tell you that there are times of day that are better and worse for expecting to catch anything. Maybe the weather is more favorable some hours than others. Here in the Texas Panhandle, we expect the winds to pick up as the day goes on. Can you picture Simon throwing a net into the wind to have it blown right back into his face? We can.

My guide son ( –shameless plug) will also tell you that fish move around based on the water temperature, wind direction, phases of the moon, etc. Maybe the hour determined the location of fish and feasibility of fishing.  Maybe there were avoidable dangers in the deep at this time.

Simon, the Pro, knew when to be on the lake and when to be on the shore. Jesus’ timing is no less than perfect, ever. Jesus shows up and uses a boat that was strategically at shore.


One Command from the Creator gave Courage to the Craftsmen….


To be continued….